What's a good DSLR for bloggers?

Started Jul 17, 2012 | Discussions
Nemphtis
Nemphtis Junior Member • Posts: 42
What's a good DSLR for bloggers?

I'm a video game blogger currently using a Nikon D40, which I use for photographing products I review and also for covering various events I attend (eg. tournaments and conventions). Even though I've hardly mastered the use of this D40, I find it too bulky to carry around and have had my eye on the smaller DSLRs which still sport interchangeable lenses such as the Sony NEX C3.

I need something more compact than this D40 to lug around when I want to get photos for a blog post outdoors, I'm a small guy so the D40 dangling from my neck feels like a brick. The NEX C3 seems to cover all the requirements I have but I am not sure if it is the best bang for my buck and wanted to see if people could suggest better alternatives.

I need my new camera to be smaller than your average DSLR, to perform well in low light as many events have terrible lighting, shoot at least 720p video and have interchangeable lenses. Like I said, the NEX C3 seems to fit these requirements and isn't too expensive, the NEX 7 looks amazing but for a clueless amateur like me it's overkill for now, even my D40 feels this way at the moment.

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RaymondR
RaymondR Senior Member • Posts: 2,435
Re: What's a good DSLR for bloggers?

budget?

do you need AF capability or are you comfortable with manual focus?

how was the d40 doing for you in low light?

how much zoom do you need for what you shoot and what range do you usually shoot at? (was the 18-55 that came with your d40 adequate rangewise or did you acquire other lenses? if so, which ones?).

also, what you are looking for are not DSLRs. By definition, they have mirrors which is what makes them bulky. The Sony NEX's you refer to are mirrorless cameras, which accounts for the skinny bodies, which means that they are NOT dslrs. However, they do have the same size sensor as your D40, which accounts for why the lenses are just as big as the D40 lenses.

other mirrorless options with skinny bodies have somewhat smaller sensors which means smaller lenses. you may trade off some low light performance but the lens selection for m4/3 is way better than for the NEX cameras (unless you can use legacy manual focus glass).
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clickshots Regular Member • Posts: 444
Re: What's a good DSLR for bloggers?

Why not get a compact? If it's for online blogging you don't need high resolution. Get yourself a Canon S90/S95/S100 - job done. Anything bigger won't be far off a d40/18-55 to be honest.

Nemphtis
OP Nemphtis Junior Member • Posts: 42
Re: What's a good DSLR for bloggers?

I don't really have a budget, but I'm inexperienced and usually move around troublesome parts of London so don't want to be walking about with a £1000 camera I'm terrified will get stolen. I'm willing to spend £300-£400, maybe more if there is a more expensive camera which can do 1080p or is more compact.

I think I need AF for events. I use manual for product reviews but during the hustle and bustle of conventions AF comes in handy.

I like to get up close for product reviews and the 18-55mm seems like the best all-rounder for event photography. I have a 55-200mm zoom lens for my D40 but it doesn't see much action. The 200mm does come in handy when I'm far away from a stage and want to get some close shots, but 90% of my photography is close up I think. I think a macro lens or a good prime lens might help with my new camera as I photograph quite a few figures from video games.

Yeah, sorry, what I want is one of those mirrorless cameras like the Lumix GF3 and Sony NEX 7. I don't think a regular point and shoot will be enough for me as I would like have more control over my shots over time, but these bulky DSLRs are too big. The Sony NEX 7 seems pretty perfect for my needs but I plan to upgrade to that when it gets a lot cheaper to buy second hand.

I'm not sure if I want a smaller sensor camera since I need all the low light performance I can get at times. Some of the events I attend are really dark and I want to avoid using flashes as much as possible. I've been told that the Sony NEX C3 has better low light performance than my D40 but I'm not sure how true this is, if this isn't true though I could think about going with a camera with smaller sensor since either way I'm losing some low light performance. Smaller sensor cameras would only appeal to me if they are even smaller/lighter than the NEX C3 and other mirrorless cameras with full size sensors.

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ptl-2010
ptl-2010 Regular Member • Posts: 274
Re: What's a good DSLR for bloggers?

Sadly for low light you can't do much better than a DSLR. If you end up with something smaller and lighter it will have a smaller sensor, which means it won't perform well in low light. If you're shooting indoors in places like gyms and halls, they are notorious for horrible lighting, which requires a large sensor camera.

You have to think about what you want more, image quality or comfort. If you want image quality you'll have to learn to deal with the weight of a DSLR. You can always try different straps/bags and see if you can make it comfortable to carry. If you are worried about comfort then almost any of the micro 4/3 systems will suit your needs, just not as well as a DSLR.
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Alvatrus Regular Member • Posts: 429
Re: What's a good DSLR for bloggers?

Just a different take on this:

Instead of hanging the camera on your neck, there are some straps run across your torso. I, for example, use a BlackRapid.

If neck strain is your main problem, you can try out one of these. Personally, I think it's one of the better investments I made in my photography equipment.

Nemphtis
OP Nemphtis Junior Member • Posts: 42
Re: What's a good DSLR for bloggers?

Well, I picked up the D40 because I wanted to get competent with photography. I felt that I would have an edge with freelance blogging work if I knew how to use a camera well compared to your average blogger. Some sites don't have writers living in London so they get a guest writer to cover the event for them, naturally they are far more impressed if you provide them with great shots alongside your well-written article.

The idea was that I get this D40 so that I have more control over how my photos are taken, but what actually happened was that I only used the D40 to take product photos indoors because I didn't enjoy carrying it around in public. How I feel that a mirrorless camera will solve this problem, being smaller and lighter so that I can carry it around with me more often whilst also still being able to play around with the shutter and aperture instead of just pointing and shooting.

If there are good point and shoot cameras out there which do give me more control over photo composition and work well in low light then I can definitely look into that too.

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Nemphtis
OP Nemphtis Junior Member • Posts: 42
Re: What's a good DSLR for bloggers?

Apparently my D40 has the same size sensor as the Sony NEX C3 mirrorless camera I mentioned in my original post, so I was hoping that using one of the mirrorless cameras which still sport a full size sensor would at least mean I keep the same low light quality I had from the D40 but now with a much lighter and smaller camera body. I'm very clueless about the technical side of things still, so perhaps there's more to low light than just the size of the sensor?

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Nemphtis
OP Nemphtis Junior Member • Posts: 42
Re: What's a good DSLR for bloggers?

Thanks for the suggestion, I am awaiting delivery for a similar product which works on both my D40 and probably any future camera I decide to purchase. It's called Cinch ( http://luma-labs.com/products/cinch ) and looks much more comfortable to carry around than the Nikon neck strap I use.

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Wally626 Senior Member • Posts: 2,312
Re: What's a good DSLR for bloggers?

The Sony NEX line is going to give the biggest sensor in a much-less-than-DSLR size package (depending on lens). The new NEX F3 has built in flash which could be useful.

For blog use the m4/3rd cameras should also work well but the NEX would beat them slightly in low light.

Nemphtis
OP Nemphtis Junior Member • Posts: 42
Re: What's a good DSLR for bloggers?

How about in terms of size and price? I might be willing to go for a camera with a smaller sensor and lenses if it's even lighter/smaller than the Sony NEX cameras.

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ptl-2010
ptl-2010 Regular Member • Posts: 274
Re: What's a good DSLR for bloggers?

There are other systems smaller and less expensive than the Sony, but you'll lose image quality. The smaller the sensor, the lower the noise performance. If you still want to provide quality images you need to shoot with the largest sensor camera you are comfortable with.

I've been a fan of the Lumix micro four thirds cameras because they seem to blend video and photography fairly well. I have little experience with them but I have had the chance to use them a few times and was pleased with the performance.
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Virginia Bill Contributing Member • Posts: 826
Re: What's a good DSLR for bloggers?

Nemphtis wrote:

How about in terms of size and price? I might be willing to go for a camera with a smaller sensor and lenses if it's even lighter/smaller than the Sony NEX cameras.

In most of this thread you're getting caught in a trap involving absolute image quality. In those discussions, the largest available sensor always wins.

But you're a blogger. Online use doesn't require high-resolution images. In fact, you can't use high-resolution images online. Any one of several "serious compacts" such as the Canon S100 or the Panasonic Lumix LX5, Fuji X10, or the Olympus XZ1 would meet your needs. These are relatively small and light but have somewhat larger sensors than conventional point and shoot cameras, so they have higher resolution and better low-light performance than P&S cameras.

You can find a good deal of information at the "Serious Compacts" forum.

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Nemphtis
OP Nemphtis Junior Member • Posts: 42
Re: What's a good DSLR for bloggers?

Thanks for the info, however I'm not entirely sure if a serious point and shoot is what I'm looking for, can I adjust aperture and shutter speed on them? Although as I did indeed say that I need the camera for blogging, I would like a certain level of control over the composition of my photos. If there are serious point and shoots that are like this then I'm definitely interested and will look into the brands you mentioned.

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ptl-2010
ptl-2010 Regular Member • Posts: 274
Re: What's a good DSLR for bloggers?

There are a handful of well performing point and shoots with manual exposure controls that allow you to adjust shutter speed, aperture, and ISO just like you would on a DSLR. I personally have a sx230hs that I use when I don't want to take my kit. It has manual controls but does not perform well in low light, because of the zoom range. One of the shorter zoom P&S should have a fast lens and reasonable image quality. Here are a few.

  • Canon s100 or s95

  • Canon g12

  • Nikon p7100 or p7000

  • Lumix LX5

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-Paul

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RaymondR
RaymondR Senior Member • Posts: 2,435
Re: What's a good DSLR for bloggers?

the sensor in the NEX is big like your d40. the problem with NEX for you is your need for low light shooting. unless you shoot MF legacy glass, there aren't a whole lot of fast glass options -- some, but not nearly as many as you have in m4/3.

plus the lenses for the NEX are big like dslr lenses, so you save a bit of bulk in the body but the lenses are still awkwardly big to me. with m4/3, you get small lenses too and you have lots of fast glass options for indoor low light shooting -- the 12mm f2, the 14mm f2.5, the 20mm f1.7, the 25mm f1.4, and the 45mm 1.8. Even the kit zooms are meaningfully smaller than for NEX.

If you want smaller than your d40 and you don't think a compact will suffice, I suggest look at one of the OLY PENS or the Panny m4/3s. You give up some inherent low light ability due to sensor size but you have glass options galore.

Your problem is going to be price.
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RaymondR
RaymondR Senior Member • Posts: 2,435
Re: What's a good DSLR for bloggers?

another compact option is the Canon G1x. Big sensor.

As for the Panny compacts, rumor is the successor to the LX5 is getting announced soon.
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AnandaSim Forum Pro • Posts: 13,422
Re: What's a good DSLR for bloggers?

Nemphtis wrote:

I need my new camera to be smaller than your average DSLR, to perform well in low light as many events have terrible lighting, shoot at least 720p video and have interchangeable lenses. Like I said, the NEX C3 seems to fit these requirements and isn't too expensive, the NEX 7 looks amazing but for a clueless amateur like me it's overkill for now, even my D40 feels this way at the moment.

I don't know the Sony line to figure whether they have a 28mm / 35mm / 50mm equivalent lens (divide by 1.5 for the actual optical focal lengths for Sony) which are f/2. Their sensor will be good for low light.

From my line, I would say Olympus E-PM1 with 20mm f/1.7 Lumix lens or if you have the money Olympus OM-D. For a wider you can get the 28mm f/2.8 but it is one and a half settings darker. Sometimes this lens has too shallow depth for field for a two person torso and head shot in which case you move yourself backward a foot.

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Nemphtis
OP Nemphtis Junior Member • Posts: 42
Re: What's a good DSLR for bloggers?

I'm not used to using forums like this one so perhaps this would be better suited as a new thread than a response to this one, but thanks to the advice you guys have given me I have decided to slightly adjust the ideal features I would like to have in a camera.

Based on what you guys have said, I think a micro-four-thirds is going to be the best category for me. Serious compacts are definitely alluring but I would like to have the option to change lenses and the Canon S95 and Lumix LX5 don't fit all my needs.

Looking at the micro four thirds cameras, their size is just right and I have decided that this smaller profile is worth a reduction in low light performance. The Sony NEX series seems good but the lenses are still as big as a DSLR one, the combination of smaller camera body and lenses makes the micro four thirds a better choice for me, even if it means a smaller sensor to work with.

So which micro four thirds camera do I go for if I want something which can remain compact, have an optional viewfinder available if one doesn't come built in, have optional flash if one is not built-in (I rarely use flash so if it isn't built in that's totally fine), record at least 720p HD video with auto-focus and the option for an external microphone with stereo and assuming some micro four thirds cameras are better in low light than others then there's that to consider as well.

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Virginia Bill Contributing Member • Posts: 826
Re: What's a good DSLR for bloggers?

I'm glad you've reached an intermediate decision. Now go to the top of this page and look under the "Camera" menu. You'll find there "camera feature search." Plug in your desiderata and proceed.

Micro 4/3 was developed by Olympus and Panasonic; they market all the many available models. You can find details about the various models on this website, on the manufacturers' web sites, and at the micro 4/3 forum. You should also explore the Olympus, Panasonic and micro 4/3 subforums here.

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